The Institute for Justice has obtained a victory in the long running dispute between National City and the Community Youth Athletic Center, which was designated as blighted in order to allow seizure of the gym by the city so that an influential developer can build luxury condos. Dean previously posted on this subject. National City took the route of declaring the area "blighted" by paying a private consultant to produce a report allegedly proving the blight. However, they then refused to provide the details of the report.
". . .the Court also held that when the government retains a private consultant to perform government functions—in this case, documenting the existence of alleged “blight” in National City—documents that the private consultant produces are public records subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act. The Court also set a clear standard for what government agencies have to do in searching the records of their private consultants in response to a Public Records Act request."The abuse of the power of eminent domain, following the infamous Kelo v New London ruling, has been held in check somewhat by reforms in California.
The Court struck down National City’s entire 692-property eminent domain zone in the first decision to apply the legal reforms that California enacted to counter the disastrous U.S. Supreme Court Kelo decision in 2005. This ruling, which found that National City lacked a legal basis for its blight declaration, reinforces vital protections for property owners across the state, and underscores why redevelopment agencies should be abolished.But Kelo needs to be reversed, or at least chipped away by the Supreme Court, it is certainly the worst Supreme Court decision since Plessy v Ferguson. In the meantime, we can celebrate a small victory for a worthy program helping to make National City a better place to raise kids.
Cross posted to sdrostra.com.